Summer demands some libations to quench one’s thirst. So, with Tales just around the corner Neat Pour turned to NOLA’s Paul Gustings for some help. As a Louisianan, Gustings is no stranger to elevated mercury levels. He offered up some suggestions, but also noted, “I do everything contrary to everyone else.” Gustings on garnishes? “I don’t understand the point.” Gustings on tasting his products? “Why? I know when I’ve made a good drink.” Gustings on his one new-age affinity, acid phosphate? “It’s good for you.”
As far as the criteria for a summer drink, the contrarian stayed fairly mainstream. He told NP, “They should be refreshing, not necessarily high in alcohol, something that you can have a few of without getting drunk.”
Gustings suggested four summer sippers. He is partial to punches which he attributes to their ease. He says, “They take work, time, and care, but they are not complicated. Plus, it’s not something that you can go out and just buy in a store.”
However, the prophet of punches does add a caveat. “During the summer, there are flies. Serve them out of a bottle or inside.”
Gustings describes the Pimm’s Cup as “the ultimate New Orleans hot summer drink.” The classic cocktail is made with Pimm’s No. 1, the most common remaining variety of the once bountiful Pimm’s family. No. 1 is a juniper based liquor, but Gustings notes that does not mean it’s gin. “Juniper berries happen to be prime ingredient in London Dry gin.”
Everyone has their own recipe for the classic. These specs are “not easy,” says the creator. First, Gustings takes blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cucumbers, lemons, limes, and oranges and juices them. Then he gathered the debris from them as well and lets the mash sit in a container mixed with Pimm’s No. 1 for a week. Finally, he strains it a couple of times; mixes it with lemonade; and tops the mix with a splash of Seven-Up.
For the home enthusiast, the professional suggests improvising and simply using a potato masher to break up the fruit, letting it sit in a container, and then putting the concoction in a glass over ice with lemonade.
Gustings next suggestion is not a punch. It begins with Citron Sauvage, a Bittermens’ product described as a slightly grapefruit tasting liquor. He suggests this drink for its ease of creation. With only three ingredients, the simple preparation makes it perfect for impromptu guests or some much needed relief after work.
- 1.5oz Aperol
- 1oz Lillet
- .5 Citron Sauvage
Mix and serve in a tall glass over ice. Finish with soda water.
Glutton for Punishment
For the enthusiast, Gustings offered up a more complex recipe. The Glutton takes nearly two weeks before it is ready to drink. So plan in advance. Gustings describes the drink as “like a bitter lemon, but not really.” His instructions are less of a formula and more of a feel. So read through the steps a couple of times.
- Take one bottle of arrack and one bottle of Smith and Cross rum and mix them together.
- Cut up 12 lemons cut really thin.
- Mix that together and let it sit for a week
- Then take the lemons without squeezing them, and put them in a container. (Reserve the rest of the mixture.)
- Next, you’re going to add 12 ounces lemonade and 60 ounces of tonic water to the lemons
- Then, let that sit for a day
- Take an immersion blender and blend it.
- Let it sit for two days.
- Strain it.
- When you’re ready to serve, fill a tall glass with ice, 1.5 ounces of gin, 0.5 ounces of Lillet, and fill up the with the juice.
With the reserved rum and arrack solution from the first step, you can make a second drink.
- 16 oz. sugar water
- 20 oz. orange pekoe
- All of the reserved rum and arrack
Mix it all together and serve in a tall glass over ice.